Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cassette Review: Portopia '81 "Stardust Memory" (Field Hymns)


Obviously the first thing that comes to mind with this is the artist having '81 up there and that would be when I was only a year old, so imagine being told this was something from back before you were too young to even remember it.   1981 was probably a good year, but then again I think most of the 1980's was good because I was too young to have ever developed a nasty cocaine habit.

"Stardust Memory" begins with fun and melodic synthwave.   It somehow combines the acoustic sounds of Rusted Root (who, admittedly, I only know that one song of) and some 8bit type jungle beats.   I like to think of this as being alien pop and if that's not yet a genre (it probably is), let Portopia '81 be its founder.   Much of the 8bit is complex, but there is also some soothing synth building up to danceworthy beats.    Though one could call it chillwave I prefer to think of it as having a crazy Casio rainbow flow.

Spatial synth chimes in and out as the crickets or locusts come out in feedback bits and it just ends out Side A in a rather ambient manner.   Side B begins with this brief synth piece that reminds me of Yo Gabba Gabba.     Then it becomes spatial with dominant tones.   Cymbald lightly come out and for some reason I'm thinking of the Muppets in space.    Electronic vocals take me into what I
call funeral home synth, yet somehow it can also be uplifting which seems quite the opposite.

When this cassette ends we hear steady tempo beats like bom bom bom mixed with elevator grooves and some 8bit.     In many ways there couldn't be a more fitting end as we are both energetic and relaxing at the same time, a real challenge that Portopia '81 takes on seemingly with ease.

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